Where are the Ocean World dolphins?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:
Twelve dolphins from the
defunct Ocean World marine park in Fort
Lauderdale were flown to the St.
Anthony’s Key dolphin swim facility in
Honduras on September 15 in an expedit-
ed deal that raised the suspicion of release
advocates––especially after former Ocean
World dolphin trainer and longtime critic
of the facility Russ Rector said September
18 that an Ocean World staffer had told
him six dolphins were never unloaded at
St. Anthony’s, but instead were flown on
to the Isla Mujares resort near Cancun,
Mexico, where visitors may swim with
either dolphins or sea turtles.
At deadline, September 20,
Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and
Aquariums executive director Marilee
Keefe said she had been personally
assured by USDA Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service director Dale
Schwindaman that the report was
false––but to be sure, an APHIS staffer
was to count the dolphins at St. Anthony’s
the next morning.
Rector and Rick Trout, another
ex-trainer now crusading for dolphin
elease, offered Ocean World $130,000
for the dolphins as the sale to St.
Anthony’s was in the works. Joe Roberts
and Ric O’Barry, who are now preparing
to release dolphins from the Ocean Reef
Club (see above) and the U.S. Navy,
offered $15,000 for just one dolphin,
Delta, who was captured with two of the
Ocean Reef Club dolphins in 1990. Both
offers were refused. Rector has called a
retaliatory boycott of Florida tourism.
The dolphins went to St.
Anthony’s, a.k.a. the Institute for Marine
Sciences, after every accredited U.S.
aquarium declined them. Six, captive-
born, are relatively young; five were
wild-caught and are reportedly from 29 to
45 years old. Consisting of two enclosed
ocean lagoons, St. Anthony’s is widely
considered a model program , but the
1991 lawsuit by which Honduran political
figure Julio Cesar Galindo won title from
the estate of his former partner, the late
Paul Adams, a U.S. citizen, has drawn
attention from U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy
(D-Vt.) for apparent lack of due process.